More workers are mobile, and more have tablets. In fact, IDC believes the tablet market will grow to 172.4 million this year, and, by 2016, shipments should reach 282.7 million. How are enterprises going to handle it?
Based on growing employee demand, CIOs are increasingly enabling employees to “bring your own device” (BYOD). And the device an employee brings is increasingly the tablet — a new form factor that often doesn’t mesh with the company’s infrastructure.
Tablet-wielding workers have high expectations for connectivity and functionality, so it is important for IT leaders to prepare for the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. This is especially critical as more employees work outside the office and more partners require access to enterprise applications.
Connecting Mobile Workers
The effort required to deeply connect mobile workers on disparate devices may be greater than we expect. While many like the concept of a virtual office, in actuality the traditional office isn’t going away in the foreseeable future, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, commissioned by Ricoh Americas.
But virtual office technology has not yet caught up to employees’ fears that they may become irrelevant if they’re not perceived as being fully engaged with the traditional office. Here are four things that enterprises need to consider to enable a productive BYOD environment and allay these fears:
Data availability: Although security is always a concern, you’ll need to aggressively open your applications and data to the people who should be allowed to use them — that is, those who could see them if they had a desktop in the office. Opening up data can be scary and complex, but in today’s mobile environment it’s necessary or you’re handcuffing your workers.
Collaboration spaces: Email and file servers are a fact of life, but there are better ways to collaborate online. Explore social technologies and cloud storage as starting points.
Hotelling: Remote workers don’t always work in bedrooms, cars and coffee shops. Hotelling is a way they can “rent” or borrow office space as needed rather than incur soaring real estate costs. You may need to provide for this.
Mobile printing: It’s amazing how many powerful mobile devices hit the wall when it comes time to print something out. You need to provide remote workers with the apps they need for on-the-fly printing and configure your enterprise so that authorized guests can print when they visit.
These are just a few areas you’ll need to look at to meet the growing challenge of mobile workers with higher expectations, using disparate devices. Companies that can embrace this change, plan for it and adapt their workplace environments to maximize new technologies and talent will thrive; those that don’t will stagnate. Which path will your enterprise take?